A Camillus knife is a knife that the Camillus brand designs and manufactures. The brand is known to have an honored heritage of producing some of the outstanding knives ever made. With the former official name as Camillus Cutlery Company, this brand is among the oldest American knife manufacturers.
Right since the inception and in its subsequent decades of journey, Camillus has dedicatedly manufactured the finest knives. The quality of its knives is often compared with that other esteemed American brands such as Spyderco and Kershaw.
Regardless of whether you have possessed or used a Camillus knife, it is a famous brand with a long but motivational history. Anyone fond of collecting different knives is aware of this company, and its knives and tools.
What most people are unaware of is the far-reaching gamut of comprehensive expertise and the different knife markets they serve. In simple words, the brand has diverse collections of knives to offer even today.
Whether you need a classic folding knife, a titanium knife, a military knife, or a Boy Scout utility knife, there is at least one Camillus knife for you. As among the oldest knife makers, the brand aims to retain quality with its tactical, sporting, fishing, and hunting knives.
For more than 150 years, Camillus has been providing reliable, creative, and quality knives surviving the test of time. So, is it not interesting to know more about the company and its knives? Read on.
Evolution of Camillus
Camillus was one of the initial knife makers in the U.S.A with origins dating back to 1876. Since then, it has successfully made its brands. It also operated as a productive contractor for other brands making knives. This means that it has a rich heritage of traditional and modern knives.
The company came into existence when one of its creators named Adolph Kastor started importing knives made in Germany into the United States. Based in Germany, in 1870, Adolph had immigrated to New York.
Finally, this expanded and resulted in the name Camillus New York. In 1910 when the American population was no significant, the company manufactured a million knives.
The brand extended its wings by developing a myriad of items for the sporting, hunting, and tactical markets, including machetes, knives with folding and fixed blades, and multi-tools.
It also made several types of cutting tools, ranging right from fighting knives to surgical instruments. This was until labor unions, imports, and suspected management issues caused it to shut in early 2007, taking even Western with it.
However, until the declaration of bankruptcy, the company manufactured millions of knives. Its intellectual property rights and brand name were then brought by Acme United Corporation, a firm that restored the brand in 2009 by introducing modern materials.
Although a well-established brand, it started obtaining a bad reputation in the knife industry once Acme United restored the name, and its knives made a manufacturing move overseas.
Since then, the company has taken a lot of initiatives to remake its brand, especially by introducing a few heavy bushcraft designs that they promoted well on survival shows with celebrities such as Les Stroud.
At present, they are back in full swing in the competition of folding knives. It has managed to offer a decent budget collection for outdoor as well as casual everyday Carry (EDC) enthusiasts.
Since its re-launch, the company has introduced a few impressive modern folding knives to make an honorable re-entry into the EDC market.
Even today, Camillus products are made using the best materials and craftsmanship to assure high-end performance and reliability when used on the field. The brand is an expert in making survival, outdoor, and bushcraft knives.
Modern Camillus Knives
While you will find a vast assortment of Camillus knives on sale, the titanium-coated ones are its recent hot releases. Thus, cutlery items of this brand are made using carbonitride titanium™ steel that is of cutlery grade and are hardened well to retain their edge.
The brand itself claims that its modern knives are improved versions due to the inclusion of either carbonitride titanium or titanium bonding. Both are fundamentally coatings applied to the blade, although they are not similar to a mirror finish.
The coatings fundamentally boost the blade’s corrosion resistance power, edge retention ability, and hardness. Let’s explore these two types of coatings in detail.
- Titanium Bonding: It is typically a mix of titanium and chromium nitride, which is applied onto the blade’s surface to ensure a stronger coating. It is not a full titanium blade, but just a good coating applied to the blade. High-end tools such as drill bits are treated with titanium nitride. If you have ever used any of these tools, you already know how strong titanium nitride is. Camillus is now applying it to its blades.
- Carbonitride Titanium: This coating is also applied for the same purpose as titanium bonding. However, it is just harder, allegedly. According to the brand, the carbonitride titanium coating it applies to its blades is ten times sturdier. Frankly, it is not clear as to what it is stronger than, but it is assumed that it is harder than no coating at all. The brand also specifies that the coating resulting in a ‘crystalline structure.’ Now, this is appealing, as it is the result of treating metals with heat. The useful aspect is that it is a strong coating that boosts the blade’s durability and makes a finish that is resistant to chipping or wear due to heavy use for a prolonged time. There are over 60 folding knives and 30 fixed-blade knives that come with some titanium coating.
Thus, it will not be wrong to conclude that Camillus knives can withstand the most strenuous and impossible task while continuing to perform well in case of extended use.
Exploring the Different Series of Camillus Knives
Camillus has been transforming the world of creative knife designs, by designing knives reflecting superior craftsmanship. Following are its famous knives (series):
- Fixed-blade: This series holds a variety of powerful and versatile models perfect for outdoor tasks such as camping, hiking, and even survival jobs such as hammering, digging, and splitting. These knives are made by using high carbon, German 4116, and Carpenter stainless steel. The collection encompasses replacement blades and machetes.
- Folding Pocket: This full-scale range has ideal EDC knives. These knives differ significantly in terms of locking mechanisms. You will be able to find knives with liner, frame, and Lockback lock mechanisms.
- Framelock: These knives are distinctly crafted pocket tools that ensure efficient functionality. They are admired for their ambidextrous studs, excellent control, and assuring precision. The handles are made of G-10 resin laminate due to which they are lightweight and visually appealing. On the other hand, the stainless blades are durable as well as resistant to impact.
- Linerlock: Camillus ergonomically design the knives having this locking mechanism. They come with a side-spring lock using which you can easily open and close them using just one hand. These knives are made with stainless steel, have a comfortable grip, and are easy to carry.
- Lockback: These knives from Camillus come with a simple lock back or spine locking apparatus to keep accidental opening or closing at bay. They possess blades with the tanto and drop point due to which they can easily cut through anything. The stainless build provides immense strength and makes them enduring even in challenging surroundings. The handles are textured due to which you are ensured of a superb grip. These knives are structured well.
- Specialty Lock Pocket: These pocket knives come with a specialty lock mechanism and come with a dual safety button for locking to retain the blade in the open or closed position safely. They also possess stainless, titanium-bonded, and partially serrated blades that remain inside the handles when not in use. Due to being light in weight, they are perfect EDC knives.
- Seven: This niche provides knives with titanium bonded blades made up of stainless steel. The Seven ascribes a pocket clip that ensures effortless accessibility. These knives come with a frame lock mechanism and G-10 handles that provide a comfortable, secure grip. They are worth adding to your collection if you are a knife collector and ideal if you perform many tasks outdoors.
- Guise: This niche has self-defense knives made using a handy liner lock folding apparatus. They are made using stainless steel that is resistant to high compression as well as corrosion. Their handles are composed of the Prym1 (colored) pattern and provide great strength to the overall framework.
- TRC: This niche has liner lock pocket knives on offer, which reflect strong quality and craftsmanship. Thus, they are ideal for professionals apart from the survivalists. They are equipped with a black coating of titanium powder, drop-point blade made using stainless steel, and thumb studs due to which they are perfect for heavy outdoor use. You also get a pocket clip with each of these durable knives due to which they become easy for safe carry.
- Slot: This is the collection of a myriad of liner lock folding pocket knives. They are compact and light enough to fit in your hand comfortably. Their handles are made using the nylon material and are available in different colors. These models also come with exceptional slot cutouts and are built to handle precise and hard cutting jobs.
- Camlite: This collection has knives whose stainless steel blades are coated with carbonitride titanium. They come with a typical, strong edge for assisting in heavy-duty tasks. The handles are made using glass-filled nylon and textured in black to give a firm grip to keep accidental harms at bay. These knives are exclusively made for fulfilling the dynamic needs of knife enthusiasts.
- Blaze: This series provides a range of liner lock pocket knives whose blades are easy to open and are meant for precise cutting. The handles are built using glass-reinforced nylon. For easy carrying, these knives come with a lanyard hole as well as a pocket clip. They are compact due to which they fit into the hand comfortably.
- Cuda Mini: This series offers high-performing tactical knives that are ideal for daily tasks. They come with stainless steel blades having a drop point. These blades are capable of resisting corrosion and tend to fit comfortably inside the handle for facilitating carrying ease. The knives also come with a lanyard hole, a pocket clip, and a bearing system that launches swiftly.
- Cuda Sarkis: This collection has a myriad of lightweight folding knives having partially serrated blades made using stainless steel and featuring black finish. These knives are ideal for ensuring accuracy in rugged applications. They come with a Cuda blade launch, a lanyard hole, and a pocket clip. Thus, they are easy to carry. The handles are anti-slippery to ensure proper grip when used for long hours and are made using black rubber.
- GB-8B: This collection provides folding knives of high quality, which are furnished with black titanium-coated blades made up of stainless steel. They also have a thumb stud. This construction makes knives resistant to corrosion and rust. All knives are exclusively made for excellent performance in hostile setups and come with extended tang, a lanyard hole, a pocket clip, and a glass breaker.
- NS-8B: This range offers attractive knives that are ideal for a survival kit. They are exclusively made for rugged applications due to which they are perfect pals for adventurous expeditions.
- Lev-R-Lok: This series is known for its knives with textured G-10 handles of high quality. The handles are designed to offer a stable grip while in use. These models come with the ‘Lev-R-Lok’ launching system due to which it is easy to close and open the blades. The blades are of tanto style and are useful for a variety of jobs such as grinding, piercing, and chopping.
- Machine: This niche has a variety of knives that fulfill different demands. They come with an assisted-opening mechanism and tanto blades due to which they are capable of withstanding most tactical situations. These knives also come with a pocket clip and a thumb stud.
- Rimfire: The knives in this series are known for their distinct handles, each possessing a bullet cap inlay to end up having a unique design. The knives are sturdy with full titanium carbonitride coating on blades made up of stainless steel. The handles are made using the G-10 material.
- Tigersharp: This niche contains a variety of replacement blades as well as pocket knives. The latter ones boast stainless steel build of high quality along with a coat of titanium to ensure toughness and strength. Even the replacement blades are made using stainless steel and are useful for replacing the dull counterparts. The aluminum handles assure a secure grip and contain slot cutouts.
- Trekus: This one has one-of-the-kind knives on offer, as each is a multi-tool with three blades, namely, a folding saw, a fillet blade, and a drop-point blade. Each of these unique knives also comes with a flashlight, a fire starter, a whistle, and a compass. They are very convenient for adventurers such as campers and trekkers. Thus, they are ideal for outdoor activities apart from assisting in daily chores.
- Wildfire: This series has knives with drop-point blades made up of AUS-8 stainless steel and coated with black carbonitride titanium. The handles are made by employing different designs, such as glass-filled nylon and black checkers. The Wildfire ascribes Robo quick launch mechanism for blades. The knives also come with a pocket clip and an extended tang. They are perfect for collectors and outdoorsmen.
- Les Stroud: This is the latest series that has knives designed exclusively for the survivalists. The collection encompasses survival knives, machetes, tactical knives, Nordic knives, and multi-tools.
Sharpening Camillus Knives
It is recommended sharpening any knife from Camillus at an angle between 17.0 and 22.5 degrees. However, this range is not for TigerSharp knives, for which a lower sharpening angle is fine.
Forged Camillus Knives Available on Sale
According to Camillus, the answer is YES! The authentic knives are the best in design, blade and handle materials and workmanship. However, fake products are not! This is because their quality is poor, and they lack optimal performance, unlike the original knives.
Thus, they tend to damage the real reputation of the brand. Unfortunately, you may come across unauthentic Camillus knives that are made using cheap steel and tend to reflect poor workmanship.
At times, these fake models are marked with labels such as ‘Camillus blades USA’, which tend to confuse the users. To stop the production, sale, and import of these illegal models, Camillus is actively coordinating with the U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E.) federal agency.
For those who have already invested in a fake Camillus knife, following are the ways to recognize it as a forged knife:
- If the manufacturing date or period is anytime between October 2006 and August 2007, as there were no Camillus knives made during this time
- If the model is Heat 3.50 or 3.65
- If a Heat 3.50 or 3.65 knife is designed after 2006 and has a label of ‘440 steel’ or ‘Camillus Blades USA’
- If the knife is marked as ‘Camillus Blades USA’ or ‘Made in Spain’
Reviews of 2020’s 3 Best Camillus Knives
There are a variety of Camillus knives. Thus, it may not be easy to identify and select the most suitable one. You need to have a clear idea of what do you need. The given knives are just a few favorites of ours
Camillus G10 Handle and Marlin Spike, 6.5-Inch Folding Knife
This is the knife to choose if you routinely perform tasks that involve dealing with ropes or strings. It is also an ideal Camillus knife for boaters and other adventurers who frequently deal with ropes outdoors, loosen or release their knots or put veggies over the campfire.
Regardless of the name, the knife has a cool and sturdy design. For many, it is the most extreme form of a Wharncliffe, with a VG10 steel blade featuring high-sabre grind and a G10 handle.
VG10 is believed to be a super steel material featuring a distinct preparation of steel with a high level of carbon. It also possesses different quantities of cobalt, vanadium, and/or chromium. The resulting steel aims to retain the blade’s sharpness and durability.
Further, because of the reasonably high content of chromium, this steel is also resistant to corrosion. It is bonded with carbonitride titanium that is ten times tougher than untreated steel and resists rust as well as corrosion.
As a result, the blade remains sharper for a longer time than expected. In other words, the blade will not peel, chip, blister, or fake. However, a VG10 blade may trigger signs of corrosion if it remains submerged in saltwater for a few days.
In case of this knife, you can clean it by making it wet to clean it and then immediately dry it off. While the black coating keeps the rust away, the chances are that corrosion can occur on edge initially if you do not keep it dry after use.
Apart from the modified non-stick blade with a drop point and a hardness level of HRC 57, there is also a rigging blade for which a liner lock exists. You can easily open and close the knife with a thumb stud using a single hand.
Convenient and portable, these aspects make this knife an ideal tool in time-critical situations. There is actually a dual locking system. You can lock the rigid Marlin Spike in its place.
Camillus has applied a super-thin hollow grind to this blade. As a result, the edge is similar to a razor in terms of sharpness. The edge is versatile enough to pass through a rope, cheese, and a package smoothly to split them apart.
On the blade side, all works well. The knife slants in your hand until the spike is in to ensure you a firm grip. However, when the blade is closed, the angling is identical, but it is not that comfortable, as then the spine rests in your palm.
The G10 handle of this knife is very durable due to the inclusion of layers of fiberglass drenched in resin, followed by the procedures of high compression and baking. This handle is, thus, resistant to moisture or liquid. It also remains stable if there is a sudden change in the climate.
Due to the absence of a pocket clip, it may not be that easy to carry this knife.
- Wide and compact
- Ergonomic design
- Very sharp blade
- Good lock mechanism
- Good edge retention
- Significant resistance to rust and corrosion
- Lifetime warranty
- Feeble lanyard hole
- No pocket clip
Camillus CamLite Mini Carbonitride Titanium Folder
Consider this CamLite knife if you are looking for a mini version that is tough and comes with a pocket clip for easy EDC functionality and reliable performance. It is a perfect tool for your pocket, which is something you will never know until you use it.
It is suitable for cutting cardboard, rope, mail, and anything else that you can name. Experts recommend this knife for anyone who is buying a knife for the first time and who is a keen knife collector.
This 5-inch mini knife features a folding design along with a lock-back mechanism. The non-stick blade is only 2-inch in length and has a coating of carbonitride titanium. It is made using 440 stainless steel, but its bonding with the latter material helps in resisting corrosion as well as rust.
The bonding also makes the blade ten times harder than untreated steel. Thus, the blade remains sharper for a longer time than expected. The edge is smooth, the grind is hollow, and the style is the typical drop point.
This compact, rugged knife comes with an exceptionally durable handle made up of glass-filled nylon. The handle, at its rear, has a pocket clip, hence the knife is ideal for backpacking, hiking, camping, and everyday carry. Both the right- and left-handed users can use this knife easily.
While there are Zytel scales, metal liners stay covert inside. There are even brass washers between the liners and the blade. Consequently, this knife overall is a significantly heavy tool as compared to its equivalents such as the Buck Nano.
- Mini size for pocket
- Very sturdy
- Hair-shaving sharp
- Good edge retention
- Resistance to rust and corrosion
- Removeable clip
- Very affordable
- No lanyard hole
Camillus Trekus, 7.25-Inch Pro Multi Tool
This 7.25-inch knife is for those who want different tools useful when outside, in just one package. It is a multi-tool design holding nine tools. Namely, a 3.125-inch drop-point blade made up of 440 stainless steel, a 3.25-inch folding saw, an awl, a fire starter, a 2.5-inch file, a flat-head screwdriver, an LED flashlight, a bottle opener, a wire cutter, and a bottle opener.
The 440 stainless steel material is known for its remarkable balance between corrosion resistance and hardness. The steel has been passed through the process of titanium bonding due to which the blade effectively resists rust and corrosion in any situation.
The bonding process also makes the blade three times harder than any untreated steel. Designed using the materials of top quality, the tool is built for performance and longevity despite the harsh outside use.
- Extremely light
- Versatile due to several tools in one
- Resistance to rust and corrosion
- Lifetime warranty
- Made in China but the quality and performance are high
There are a variety of Camillus knives available in the market for different knife users. The latest and improved ones include a coating of titanium bonding or carbonitride titanium to ensure a stronger edge and more toughness than before.